On the “Pedonali”
One of the last shows we did in Albania was on the Pedonali, which is a large open area in the main part of town. As you can see, Sam Shaw, our Irish director, attracted a large crowd with his juggling. Even mothers, grandmothers, and old men stopped to listen. I told the story of Jonah, and watched the children and adults drawn by the simple truth of a Bible story. We handed out so many Albanian children’s tracts, as well as several cases of Jesus Storybook Bibles in Albanian. Please pray for all the people who stopped that evening to consider God’s rescue plan for them.
I offered a Jesus Storybook Bible to the two little boys in the picture you see above. They had stood watching us from the time we began setting up until the end when were packing up the last of the boxes to leave. They declined the gift of a children’s Bible because they said they could not read. More, they did not know anyone who could read. I finally persuaded them to take a tract, but only so the art in the tract could remind them of the story they had heard. These children were Roma, gypsies. Most in Europe and across the Balkans see them as a scourge, if they even see them at all. Before I go to Albania next year, I need to have something written in Roma for this little boy, his brother, and all the other children like them. Sometimes when I close my eyes, I see the hunger in his eyes and pray for an answer to this problem.
Every Saturday the little church in Bilisht gathers 50 to 100 children for a program. Most do not go to church, and many are from a Muslim background. Sam told these children the story of creation. A little Muslim girl after Sam finished and said, “That was the most beautiful story!” Sam had done an incredible job of telling the story of creation, the fall, and God’s redemptive plan. It was wonderful to watch the children’s faces and see the way that the Father used Sam’s words to pull them closer to truth. The little girl was right! God’s plan to rescue us is beautiful!
Tirana and Francis
We spent the last two days of our trip in Tirana with an old friend of mine from Brazil. Pastor Ricardo is a wonderful dentist who has devoted his retirement years to providing free dental services to the countries of the Balkans. More, he uses his skills to share Jesus with everyone he meets. The last picture is a young man that none of you will recognize, but he is a good friend of Pastor Ricardo.
Francis is the director of our other Albanian puppet team. This team was planted last fall by our Italian directors last fall when they went to work in orphanages in Albania. We delivered some more equipment for them to enable them to do a better job for the children they serve. For more than twenty years, I have asked God to open the doors for us in Albania. Now the Father has given me two beautiful answers to prayer with Francis’ team and the team in Bilisht. None of this would have been possible without the hard work and sacrifice of Lianne and Gezim Myrte, friends from Istanbul. For many years we worked together serving the refugee community in Turkey, and when they moved, I followed them. They are incredible! All of the beautiful stories that you have enjoyed were made possible by the way they follow Jesus. Please ask the Father to bless them as they have blessed so many children across Albania and Turkey.
Thank you for sending us! Please continue to hold us in your prayers as we work on ministry projects in the United States this fall.
Linda, Lianne, Gezim, Sam, and Danielle